Culture and History
Kroders’ apple tree
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In honor of the 99th birthday of director Olģerts Kroders, in August of 2020, the art object “Kroders’ apple tree” created by the artists Aivars Vilipsōns and Ivars Miķelsons was installed nearby the Valmiera Drama theater. The environmental object was initiated by the Kroders’ Foundation, thanks to the financial support of patrons Boris and Ināra Teterevi, the foundation "Art Needs Space" and individual donors.
The location of the art object – opposite to the Valmiera Drama theater – is significant, because it was exactly the Valmiera Drama theater, where the director spent two of his most noteworthy periods of life, as well as his final years, embodying the dream of theater for the like-minded (1964–1974 and 2001–2012), he has brought up several generations of actors. Oļģerts Kroders, similarly to Pēteris Lūcis, Felikss Deičs, Māra Ķimele, Valentīns Maculēvičs and Varis Brasla are people, who have created the theater commandments of regarding professional and human ethics, language and ensemble.
About Oļģerts Kroders
Oļģerts Kroders was born on August 9th, 1921, in Rīga. During his deportation in June 1941, he was deported to Siberia with his parents, but in 1956 he returned to Latvia. In 1964 he graduated the Higher Directing courses in Moscow. Oļģerts Kroders was a director in Liepāja Theater (1959—1964, 1974—1989), Valmiera Theater (1964—1974, 2001—2012) and the National Theater (1990 - 1995). As an actor he has participated in many movies produced by the Rīga Film studio and Soviet film studios, while he has also played the role of a film director in the movie “Elpojiet dziļi” (1967) (“Four White Shirts”). He has received several awards for his professional work: Award of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia (LR KM) for a lifetime contribution to theater art (2009), title of Honorary Member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences (2007), the annual prize in culture “Trīs Brāļi” (“Three brothers”) for his lifetime achievements by the LR KM (2007), the Eduards Smiļģis prize (2004), Order of the Three Stars, fourth class (2001). Oļģerts Kroders died in Valmiera, Octorber 10th, 2012. He was buried in the Dīvala cemetery.
Oļģerts Kroders, working in almost all Latvian theaters, has staged 136 performances. The director's spirits aristocracy and inner independence have allowed him to turn against mental and physical violence, cliché aesthetic canons, both in art and in life, emphasizing in his productions the importance of spiritual activity, responsibility and inner freedom as a thinking being. This is probably the reason, why he has staged William Shakespeare's tragedy "Hamlet" in three different theaters four times in his life, twice at the Valmiera Theater - in 1972 and 2008.
The directors has staged many plays in the Valmiera Dramas theater, and they have garnered significant attention to the theater as well as the development of the actors: A. Tolstoy’s “The Road to Calvary” (1970), R. Blaumanis’ “Pazudušais dēls” (1970) (“Lost road”), Ā. Geikins’ “Leģenda par Kaupo” (1973) (“The Legend of Kaupo”), A. Chekhov’s “Three Sisters“ (1974, with Māra Ķimele), H. Ibsen’s “John Gabriel Borkman” (1998), K. Brikners’ "Little Red Riding Hood" (2002), A. Chekhov’s "Uncle Vanya" (2003), E. Sniedze’s "Tie paši oši" (2003) (“The same ashes”), H. Ibsen’s "Hedda Gabler" (2005), F. Dostoevsky’s "The Idiot" (2006), W. Shakespear’s "King Lear" (2006), A. Chekhovs’s “The Cherry Orchard” (2009), F. Schiller’s “Mary Stuart” (2010) and his last play – A. Ostrovsky’s “Without a Dowry” (2012). The plays and their creative troupes have been regularly nominated and won awards in various categories at the Latvian Theater of the Year Awards.